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Patient Voices: Physician, know thyself


Physician, know thyself

In 2014, to address the GMC’s avowed aim that “[Tomorrow’s doctors will] continually and systematically reflect on practice” (GMC 2009), Pilgrim Projects/Patient Voices created and ran an SSC at Kings College London, based on our earlier work at the University of Leicester Medical School ( to provide a group of third-year medical students with the opportunity, environment, support and skills with which to create reflective digital stories of experiences that have affected them. We, together with the students and staff from Kings’ College London, are currently preparing a paper on the development, progress and experience of the SSC, to be submitted for publication later in 2014.

My Dragon
Living with eczema can be uncomfortable, debilitating, even embarrassing. Beth skilfully describes the discomfort, the shame and the daily battle against her ‘dragon skin’.

The everlasting gift
As a medical student, the first dissection can be a difficult rite of passage but it can also be an opportunity to see ‘just a body’ as a precious gift of humanity.

One Wednesday afternoon
How do we make decisions about how we spend our lives? In Nielsen’s case, despite his dad’s urging to study medicine, it is law that attracts him, until…. he comes face to face with his dad’s mortality, and the skill of the surgeon who may be able to save his life.

The human race
A medical education can feel like a race to fill in your student logbook. Then, one day, in one moment of irreversible change, Chidi comes to understand that there is another, parallel, more personal race being run…

Family ties
As a young medical student, David has a professional interest and expertise in his grandfather’s developing Alzheimer’s. Then, one day, a personal experience brings home to him the delicate balance between personal and professional that all doctors must tread.

I know a girl…
Lizzie’s story is a powerful and affecting evocation of the experience of Anorexia, told with the awareness that a medical education brings.It is a very powerful story on a topic that may be sensitive to some viewers.

I’m sorry, I have to go
The education of medical students within practising hospitals is an essential part of their studies, but can sometimes leave the student with conflicting pressures and motivations.

What can I say?
Flow charts, differential diagnosis – these are all essential skills for a medical student to learn and master. But what happens when the flow chart runs out?

Prescriptive perspectives
The life of a medical student can feel frenetic, pressured, driven, a movie shifting from slow motion to fast forward in the blink of an eye. One day, Chidi’s own personal movie hits pause, and he learns something crucial.

How are you?
How does a professional engage with a patient? One day, David learns that a few short words can be the catalyst for opening up a crucial dialogue with a patient.

Bells and whistles
Young medical students, young patients. They are all human beings with feelings, fears and aspirations. That’s brought home to Mark one day by his reflection on one of the most universal of modern possessions.

Want to make your own stories?

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